Translucent concrete walls add drama and beauty to a recently completed Capital Bank in Amman, Jordan. Located on ritzy Cairo Street in Abdoun, the new Capital Bank VIP branch marks the first worldwide use of LUCEM Lichtbeton, a type of concrete with translucent properties. When backlit with LEDs or sunlight, the LUCEM translucent concrete panels create a stunning display of light and shadow for an elegant effect befitting the bank’s “boutique” character.
Architect Saja Nahashibi, founding partner of PARADIGM DH, Amman, collaborated with German company LUCEM to develop the Capital Bank VIP branch. Taking inspiration from the surrounding architecture, the building sports a contemporary design and is clad in Taffouh stone. The architect minimized openings in the facade to preserve the privacy of the neighbors as well as the bank employees and customers.
Transparent concrete panels were applied to the 46-foot-tall stairwell, which is made up of 30-millimeter-thick LUCEM light concrete panels mounted on a steel structure above undercut anchors. “The design was based on the idea that nature flows through the staircase in the form of light and shadow plays,” says LUCEM. “With the use of translucent light concrete, the architects and lighting planners are setting a striking example of how external walls can dissolve the contradiction between massiveness and lightness through translucency.”
The concrete’s translucent feature comes from the integration of millions of embedded optical fibers, which transmit light through the material. When sunlight or LEDs shine on the material, the light that passes through makes the concrete appear translucent, creating a dramatic play of light and shadow. The silhouettes of people in the building are also projected through the panels. When not backlit, the LUCEM translucent panels look like light concrete or natural stone to match the color of the bank facade. The translucent LUCEM light concrete panels were also paired with LUCEM PURE concrete panels without optical fibers in order to maintain a consistent appearance.
Images via LUCEM